Siemens develops solution strategy to address opportunities in urology

May 14, 2003

Expects rising demand for proceduresSiemens Medical Systems has been shipping its Uroskop Access dedicated urodiagnostic table in the U.S. for two years, but it is only now beginning to push the product with a greater presence at

Expects rising demand for procedures

Siemens Medical Systems has been shipping its Uroskop Access dedicated urodiagnostic table in the U.S. for two years, but it is only now beginning to push the product with a greater presence at trade shows. The effort, seen at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association April 26 to May 1, is part of the company's solution for urology.

Rather than treat urology imaging systems as individual sales, Siemens is developing a solution package that includes ultrasound, CT, brachytherapy, and lithotripsy. The goal is to take advantage of an estimated 30% growth in urology procedures over the next few years, a growing shortage of practicing urologists, and an expected increase in outpatient urology centers, said Ed Winstead, vice president and senior product manager of urology.

"We've got a high demand for this type of procedure and a shortage of personnel, so we have to do a better job of managing patients more economically," he said. "The connectivity and functionality of our approach will make cases run faster and give a better return on investment to the institution. We'll be well positioned for growth in these products."

The Uroskop Access floor-mounted is key to Siemens new strategy. The urodiagnostic table differs from other such units. Leveraging the symmetric access design of the Uroskop Access, physicians can treat patients on all sides without repositioning the C-arm, spinning the patient from head to toe, or resetting anesthetic lines. The system's small footprint also frees up space in the operating suite.

Unlike other niche market vendors of urology tables, Siemens can push and pull CT, MR, and digital radiography images off a HIS/RIS network and channel them into the urology suite. This is accomplished by incorporating the syngo operating system and DICOM operations into Uroskop Access. With comprehensive connections between clinical and administrative data streams, this approach increases productivity and versatility, Winstead said.

When Uroskop Access is linked with CT, which has become the primary mode for staging renal stones, physicians can develop a 3D treatment plan for brachytherapy and display the results on a monitor in the operating suite, he said. When the urology system is plugged into ultrasound for percutaneous procedures, physicians don't have to wheel in an ultrasound unit or look over their shoulders at a monitor that's off to one side while they're operating. They can look directly at live ultrasound on the urology system monitor.

As reimbursements continue to decline and increasing numbers of urology procedures shift to the outpatient setting, Siemens is providing more options for private physicians' offices and surgicenters. One is Modularis, a smaller scale portable lithotripsy system designed for private practices and outpatient surgery centers. The multipurpose room is mobile and, as the name implies, modular. Ultrasound, for example, can be plugged into Modularis for stent work and brachytherapy.

One choice for such an extension is Sonoline Adara. The black-and-white ultrasound scanner is suitable for imaging the bladder, kidneys, and urethra; assessing the prostate transrectally, and implanting seeds during brachytherapy performed in a physician's office. Another choice is the Sonoline G50, which was introduced last year. This system delivers high-resolution color Doppler, which can be used to perform penile and scrotal flow studies.

The overall objective for the urology market, like the mantra for all of healthcare right now, is to provide a higher level of patient care and greater throughput in any venue, according to Winstead. Siemens can do this by bringing in resources that have been present within the company but otherwise not applied in urology.